Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sympathy Saturday ~ Reisner Twins

I would like to take this opportunity to remember twin sisters, one of whom died due to being born prematurely and the other who died as a teenager.

These girls were first cousins to my mother-in-law.

Manhattan (New York City) Death Certificates, 1919-1948. Certificate no. 1066 (1921), Sarah Reisner,
FHL Microfilm 2027054, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sarah Reisner died on January 11, 1921, after having been born on January 9, 1921, to Jacob Reisner and Rebecca (Levitt) Reisner (half-sister to Rose (Levitt) Goldstein). The ONLY reason I knew to look for this death certificate is, again, thanks to the wonderful memory of my mother-in-law, who told me that her sister, Naomi Reisner, had a twin who died as a baby.
Photograph of Naomi Reisner
Courtesy: Jeff Kontoff

Sadly, Naomi Reisner died a couple of weeks before her 17th birthday, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

See Naomi's FindAGrave memorial here. Although her gravestone indicates that she died at 17 years old, she was actually just two weeks shy of her 17th birthday.

And Naomi's stone includes a photograph of her.

Thank you to Find A Grave volunteer, Jeff Kontoff, for all his work in the Jewish Cemeteries of West Springfield, and for giving permission to share this photograph here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wedding Wednesday ~ Morris Moskowitz Marriage License

I recently requested a marriage license via the Family History Library's Photoduplication Services for one Morris Moskowitz (no bride listed) in Manhattan in 1904, hoping it was the great uncle of my mother-in-law whom I've written about before. Census records for 1910 and 1930 indicate a marriage date of about 1904-1905. Their first child was born in June 1905, so a marriage date in 1904 was likely.

I found the following at Steve Morse's website (Accessing the New York City Marriage Indexes in One Step), searching on Morris Moskowitz in 1904:

When I click on "get bride," I get a "bride not found" message, so by requesting this image, I was just hoping that it was "my" Morris Moskowitz. This time I had success.

This is one of those cases where researching a collateral line gives me additional information about my husband's direct line.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

William Siegel's death - 1941

Rachel Segal Siegel
I have written several posts about my mother-in-law's Segal family. Her grandmother immigrated with her father and three siblings and I have shared a picture of the four siblings. Her great aunt Rachel had married William Seigel (or Siegel) before immigrating; I have blogged about the extended family's immigration from Hamburg to Glasgow to New York in 1891. has recently made Pennsylvania Death Certificates for 1906-1944 available. Because they are indexed, it has made it much easier to look for names of people that I think died in Pennsylvania and see if I can add to family records for some extended family members.

Following is the death certificate for William Siegel, Rachel's husband and a second great uncle of my husband., Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1924 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2014),, Death Certificate No. 34287 / 7013. Record for William Siegel, died 27 March 1941.
William Siegel (in past records he was Seigel) died on March 27, 1941 at 75 years old, (born about 1866), leaving a wife named Rachael. He lived at 1610 N. 52nd Street and worked as a tailor.

I do learn here that his father's name is Isaac and that he and his parents were born in Russia. He was buried on March 28, 1941, at Montefiore Cemetery (Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania). The website offers a burial search so I could obtain his plot location. I have added a memorial for him at FindAGrave and hope someone will take a photo of his gravestone.

Stamped on the cause of death section is: "Information supplied by coroner's office on this certificate (not official) inquest pending!" An inquest is required to investigate the circumstances surrounding any "sudden or violent" death. This includes suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths in addition to certain disease-related or simply unknown causes of death.

Since he was buried the next day, presumably the inquest was completed quickly, but it would be interesting to know more about his cause of death.

July 8, 2014 update: My mother-in-law remembers hearing that he was hit by a car when walking to synagogue.

I have never researched in coroner's records so if anyone can point me to a resource for coroner's records in Philadelphia County, I'd be greatly appreciative!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wedding Wednesday ~ Lillian Levitas and Max Messing

Lillian F. Levitas, cousin of my husband's grandmother, and sister of Dr. Matthew Levitas, married a doctor. Following is the marriage certificate from New York City:

New York, Brooklyn Marriage Certificates, 1866-1937, Family History Library Microfilm 1613735,
Certificate No. 14741. Max Messing and Lillian F. Levitas, December 27, 1914.
Max Messing, of Philadelphia, married Lillian F. Levitas, of 2124 65th Street, Brooklyn, on December 27, 1914. They were married at her home in Brooklyn by Nathan Cantor of Temple Emanu El.

Max lives in Philadelphia and is a physician. His parents are Simon Messing and Clara Heiser (though I haven't found any record of his parents in the U.S.). Max was born in Russia and is listed as 30 years old, though other records I have found for him indicate that he may have been 34 at the time of his marriage.

Lillian lives in Brooklyn and her parents are listed as Emanuel Levitas and Sara Rabin. (However, I have found her last name listed as Rabinowitz on two of her children's birth records.) Lillian was born in Newark, New Jersey and is just 19 years old.

Witnesses to the marriage are Harry Berlin and Irving K. Schwab. I wonder if some research into those men would shed any light into where the Levitas family originally was from...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebrating Blogiversary #3

I started this blog three years ago because my other blog, From Maine to Kentucky, is about my ancestry, and researching my husband's ancestry is so different from mine that I thought it deserved its own blog.

I have not been as prolific during this past year, but I try to write at least a couple of blog posts each month.

In celebration of three years of blogging, I thought I'd share some of my favorite posts of this past blogging year.

I had fun finding records for Emanuel Levitas, brother to my mother-in-law's grandfather, Max Levitt. I am still trying to figure out where this family immigrated from!

And the fact that his wife, Sarah Levitas, had a patent in her name was a great find by my husband!

I enjoyed attending the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference 2013, which was held in Boston last August and I blogged about my experiences in IAJGS Part 1 and IAJGS Part 2.

One of my favorite photos can be seen at Two Tone Tessie.

Another photo (one of many) of the "cousins in Israel" can be seen here.

And a photo of the uncle who remained in Romania and "became a Communist" can be seen here.

I do have several more photographs with Yiddish on the back that I should share...

Thanks for reading, even thought I haven't been posting much!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Military Monday ~ Stanley Goldstein

My husband's Uncle Stanley served in World War II. Several websites are offering free access to military records this Memorial Day weekend. On,, and, I found Uncle Stanley's U.S. World War II Army Enlistment record. (Original data from The National Archives.)

The information it provides is as follows:

Name: Stanley Goldstein
Birth: 1924, New York
Residence: Cape May [County], New Jersey
Enlistment: February 13, 1943 in Camden, New Jersey
Serial #: 32750962
Grade alpha: Pvt
Grade code: Private
Branch alpha: Bi
Branch code: Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
Term of enlistment: Enlistment For The Duration of The War or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion of The President or Otherwise According To Law
Army component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Race and citizenship: White, Citizen
Education: 4 Years of High School
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled Occupations In Fabrication of Textile Products, n.e.c.
Marital status: Single, Without Dependents
Source: Civil Life
Height: 67
Weight: 169
Box #: 0559
Reel #: 2.222

On, I found a bit more information in the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. This record included his birth date of April 13, 1924, death date of December 28, 1993, as well as:
Branch 1: A
Enlistment Date 1: February 20, 1943
Release Date 1: April 4, 1946

I don't have any photos of Uncle Stanley in his military uniform.

As I noted in an earlier blog post, I noted that Stanley Goldstein fought in World War II and when recovering from injuries suffered in battle, he met his wife, Betty Coleman, an English nurse and married her in England before returning home to New Jersey.

He is buried in the Woodbine Brotherhood Cemetery in Woodbine, New Jersey.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dr. Matthew S. Levitas

Dr. Matthew Samuel Levitas was first cousin to my husband's grandmother, Rose (Levitt) Goldstein. As part of his distinguished medical career,  he was recognized for his work with the V.F.W.:

Brooklyn Newsstand, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 10 September 1948, page 7